First Steps

  • Determine how much time each week, and when, you can commit ABOVE AND BEYOND what you need to maintain your academics.
  • Consider areas of study that interest you. Conduct a brief literature review using library resources. Learn something about current activities in the field.

Look for Opportunities / Potential Mentors

  • Look at the department web pages. Identify research projects that interest you or faculty you would like to work with or admire, even if undergraduate research positions are not specifically mentioned.
  • Speak with advisor and your current professors.
  • Ask advice from other students or teaching assistants about which faculty members are good mentors.
  • Find out who mentored earlier undergraduate researchers by looking at the research posters in Von Braun Research Hall.
  • Look beyond the campus. Artists throughout the area may accept apprentices. Researchers at other area institutions often need students. Look at faculty web pages at nearby universities.

Reach out

  • Identify three to five potential mentors. Speak to faculty members after class or during office hours to request an appointment to discuss research.
  • Be prepared to email or bring in person your current transcript (unofficial) and a resume. The Career Center can help you to create a good resume.
  • You may ask to join the faculty member's ongoing work as an assistant or for mentoring in a creative or research project of your own design. If you have a specific project in mind, a mentor can help you fine tune your plans and get started.
  • Potential mentors may be approached at any time of year, but always allow plenty of time in advance of when you would like to begin working.
  • If you can start by offering larger blocks of time during summer or winter break, this can be attractive. You can then receive necessary training in a short time and be ready to work more independently when classes start again.
  • Many summer research application deadlines are early in the year. Look at the offerings through the fall. A successful application process usually starts well before the end of the year.
  • Contact the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Development for internship opportunities.

Once you start a research project

  • Discuss with your mentor whether academic credit is appropriate for your work.
  • Plan to participate in the student research day.
  • Look for opportunities to present your research results at a professional or student symposium.

If you need more help getting started, try the Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates (WebGURU).